Monday, December 27, 2010

Sake to me*

A friend of a friend of ours took us to a very cool restaurant one of our last nights in Tokyo. They are known for the food and sake pairs and this friend of a friend happens to know a lot about sake. It was a really cool experience to go beyond the hot sake at Rusans or the dreaded sake bombs and really get to appreciate sake for what it is meant to be- a delicate rice wine with as much depth, flavor and variation as the grape variety.

I loved, loved, loved the way it was served...

I dare any wine lover to give sake a fair shake and not be impressed.

*my inner dork could not resist!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

we survived!

I swore up and down we wouldn't do it; I mean we have 2 mortgages.

Behold the deadly blowfish or fugu...

Although I was acutely aware of my throat and whether or not it was closing up on me, I did enjoy it. We had the sashmi (pictured) which was delicate in flavor and also some fried fugu, which tasted like fried chicken. Fried chicken that you need a license to prepare and one where the cops literally dispose of the liver because it's a lethal substance.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


We've yet to really get into the cold noodle thing, but I still think the way they are served is so pretty...

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I have to say I was pretty offended...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The cold stuff- Japanese style

It's triangular, it's purple, it's sweet potato in flavor, so no, this isn't your average ice cream cone...

It was really delicious though. Getting an ice cream maker is at the top of the list when we move home. That and about 1 million other things.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ryokan Meal

We stayed at a traditional Ryokan in Haikone. As part of the experience you eat dinner there at the hotel. After the tofu extravaganza at the monastery we were a bit worried.

When the lady came into our little paper walled room with this plate we were even more worried…

Then she walked in with two of these…

and all was right with the world.

After eating both plates, rice, udon noodles and all the veggies, we somehow in our gestures to tell her we were full, ordered two more plates of meat.

We were all in a beef coma and barely conscious when she opened the door the last time. We were so relieved to see it wasn't more meat that somehow we found room for the delightfully creamy pumpkin pudding that came for desert…

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We'll be safe from vampires for years to come...

During a check for all things “Only in Japan” our Spaniard cohort came across "the garlic restaurant". Using garlic isn’t anything new, I know, but here it's the star ingredient, even the chairs were shaped like cloves of garlic.

You can smell the restaurant a mile before you get there and I’m sure people could smell us from a mile away after leaving.

The offered up an array of dishes spanning many different cuisines. We started with a chunk of the main stuff, roasted and served with a miso dipping sauce…

It was really good, but we all wanted bread to smear it on.

For our mains we decided to share and each picked a dish. We went with a Korean pebble pot dish (served in a stone pot so the rice gets crunchy), some sort of Asian beef and rice dish, pesto, carbonara and a garlic and cheese pizza…

Everything was delicious, but that pizza…that pizza was one of the best I've ever had.

Granted we’re all getting a little sick of rice these days, but it was seriously so good we ordered 2 more to split and plan on going back this week.

We had two great discoveries at the restaurant. One, crunchy fried slivers of garlic are a MUST for pizza and two, Panola hot sauce is the jam.

It seems that me and the Bestie aren't the only ones who love hot sauce with their pizza. Apparently it's always served alongside a slice. I've never seen this sauce in the States, but someone has got to find it and find it quick. Buy a case, I'll pay you back for it!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Remember how I said “You never know until you try!”

Well, sometimes that isn’t true. Sometimes you know the one thing in the world that you’d rather die than eat. You know that something that you can’t even touch or handle when cooking is something you’d rather not ever, ever, ever, ever have in your mouth.

Yes, ladies and gents…I ate raw chicken!!!!!!!

Lesson- do not just put whatever someone puts in front of you in your mouth. Yes, I should have learned that at age 2, but these Japanese with all their delicious fare and cutesy little bowls had me fooled.

I’ve got your number now, Japanese servers and chefs. I’ll never forgive you. NEVER!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Hiroshima or its region or prefecture or whatever is known for their okonomiyaki. A kind of noodle pancake, none of us were hungry, but we were all about trying it. It took us forever to find the place, but once upstairs we settled down for some good ol’ okonomiyaki. We chose to go with the regular one which only had veggies and pork inside…

The same sauce that was used on the octopus balls covered the top, but luckily I was able flip the top over and eat just the noodles, cabbage and pork.

It was pretty tasty, but I wouldn’t put it in the top things we’ve had since we’ve been here. You never know until you try though!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Street Food- Japanese Style

We decided to hit a nearby "fair" for lunch after visiting the Castle in Himeji. There were a lot of interesting items being served up, but the toothless little old men motioning us to their booth of stir fried noodles and veggies won us over...

Afterward I hit the ice cream stand for a twist of vanilla and green tea...

I'm seriously addicted to green tea ice cream. So good!

We had some street food the next day in Miyajima where I had my first taste of octopus balls...

I'm really not into the sauce, although the pastry with chunk of tentacle inside was pretty tasty.

I, of course, got a bean cake before leaving, but unfortunately couldn't take a picture since I had to eat it before this guy attacked me for it...

If you think I'm joking take a look at the brochure New Guy had in his back pocket...

These deer weren't messing around!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I loved you while I could...

One of the many great things about Tokyo is you can’t swing a stick without hitting at least 5 restaurants. The food choices here are endless.

We wandered through the side streets of Shibuya one day and happened upon some righteous spicy noodle soup…

One not so great thing about Tokyo is that it's a really big city, so enjoy a good meal while you have it in front of you because you’re likely to never find that particular restaurant again :(

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Best and Worst of T-day

Possibly the worst Thanksgiving meal ever...

That is actually saying a lot considering my sweet cornbread dressing disaster last year in Puerto Rico and another T-day spent choking down a plateful of first attempt (and so not successful) recipes the year before that. I have to say I CANNOT wait to have a normal (read: Southern) Thanksgiving dinner when we are home for good.

BUT- it was really nice sharing our holiday with friends who have never celebrated it before and the best was teaching them how to make hand turkeys.

The awesome Spanish bullfighting turkey...

And my personal fave, the striking French turkey...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dinner by Monks...

I somehow got a bit behind in the food blog. Sorry! Such is life in Japan where you’re almost always eating something interesting or unknown.

After 5 weeks I can say without hesitation our most “interesting” meal was the one we had at the monastery in Mt. Koyasan. Since the monks are vegetarian so were we while we stayed there. At least until we could find a tempura restaurant the next day ;)

The meal was served in a traditional room by a monk and was an awesome experience…

We could identify about 20% of the food we were served. My fave was a ginger soup although nothing was bad, per se, except for the cold creamy tofu. I can do tofu, but it needs to be firm.

We had a great time opening all the little bowls and trying to decide what all the weird veggies and fruit tasted like...

It was a meal to remember. Of course I think anyone would be hard pressed to forget eating tiny purple boiled potatoes the size of peas or the hotly contested “peachango”.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bacon Fajitas

It's not really bacon and they certainly aren't fajitas, but that’s our pet name for our fave dish at the Korean place down the street from our hotel. The entire table has to order it to get the “all you can eat” special so we try to get everyone on board so we can actually get enough food to constitute a meal to our non-Japanese tummies.

After breaking down the ingredients I’ve come to the conclusion that the miso totally makes this dish and they are oh so delicious…

Please note that bbq-ing arm is the Wife's. She's kinda a control freak about the grill and well, we're kinda lazy and a little piggish so it works out well.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

korean bbq

We’ve had Korean like 3 times already and I think all pretty addicted to the bbq-ing at your table concept. The best Korean we’ve had thus far was at the restaurant the new guy took us to in his ‘hood. The food was amazing and the quality of the beef was, well it was so beautiful we ate most of it raw. As you can imagine the Wife was in heaven and I’ll even admit that it was pretty dang tasty.

We started with a little tartar appetizer that you wrapped in seaweed…

This cut of beef was great raw and dipped in a little soy although I preferred to let most of mine kiss the grill a little…

We did actually do a little bbq-ing…

They're really into high fat contents in their meat here. Seriously, the more fat marbled into their beef or pork- the higher the cost. I’ve learned never to order the most expensive cut to ensure it isn’t too fatty or greasy for my Western palate.

Thankfully you have bibs to make sure none of that marbling gets on your clothes…

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


They say a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush. I say a bird in the hand headed to your tummy is worth even more than that.

Our dear friend, KB, introduced these yummy little treats to us on our first trip to Japan and we snagged a couple as soon as we found them.

The cake is filled with mashed and sweetened red beans. I'm fascinated that beans are used pretty much exclusively in desserts here. I am totally going to be experimenting with some "bean baking" when I finally have a kitchen again.

A tiny video of the bird cake machine...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

sea pig

Friday night's lesson: Not all hot pots are created equal.

3 of us had decided to split another hot pot at dinner on Friday night only to be told by the waiter we had dragged outside to the menu board that the hot pot we craved was actually served next door. No worries he seemed to indicate and brought us a photo of another hot pot.

It seemed suspiciously filled with a strange array of seafood, but we went with it.

Veggies, seafood, tofu, pork and some other unidentifiable items came to the table heaped in a big pot. We kept asking for the water, but were assured that was all we were getting. After much debate, sneering and questioning it did finally cook down.

The Spaniard really had an issue with the pork and seafood being in the same pot, but I assured him as all good Southerners know- pork = flavor.

In the end the “sea pig” didn’t win our hearts, but it was much better than we had expected.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

hot pot of goodness

Perfect midnight dinner? Apparently the answer is hot pot.

We had our first hot pot experience at a restaurant we came across in the Meguro area. We went with the pork and added some soba noodles to round out the meal.

They were both beyond delicious.

All I can say is get ready for some hot pot dinner parties at the V’s house when we move back!

Monday, November 1, 2010


For our first dinner out together we went to a small (well, every restaurant is pretty small here) teppanyaki restaurant.

The meal started with a small bowl of gelatinous items. We're still unsure of what most of them were and as Westerners the texture was a bit much for us...

After much translating of the all Japanese menu I went with the oysters and five mushrooms…

and Jules went with the chicken…

The mains were really delicious, but we were all still pretty hungry after the tiny portions. 3 oysters does not a dinner make for this American girl.

It hasn’t been my fave meal thus far and unless we can find a teppanyaki place with better ventilation we may not try it again. My purse smelled like a big piece of fried garlic for about 3 days.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

a first

Frenchie was in town for a long layover Monday and took me for my first conveyor belt sushi experience.

I should have taken a video since I really didn’t get a great photo and seemed to only snag the boring omelet…

I’m so happy he was there to show me the ropes for my first time. The concept isn’t complicated- you see what you want, you grab it and whatever design of plate it’s on is the cost of that particular piece or pieces of sushi. You stack up your plates as you finish and a guy will come around and tally your bill- easy enough. Without him though I would have never known that I had my own hot water tap to make my own tea and other little nuances like grabbing my soy bowl from another rotating belt underneath. I have no doubt it was a much less haphazard experience than if I had ventured it alone. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Frenchie!!

Aside from just the quirky and fun experience- the sushi was amaze-balls. So fresh and yummy and perfect! I didn’t even know what fish I was eating half the time and I didn’t even care.

Definitely a once a week lunch spot...


Paella + Spanish sunshine = heaven...

It's just simple math, folks.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Danish Fare

As I talked about in my post on 2girls, Copenhagen is one outrageous city. Sunday we had decided to heed a friend's advice and have a hot dog from a street vendor for lunch. And hey, a $6 weenie seemed like a bargain considering a club sandwich will cost you $30 bucks...

I wasn't too impressed, but I don't think I got the one I ordered either. I thought the enclosed bun was a good idea at first, but towards the end when all the condiments had slid down it was pretty messy.

I did really enjoy the candied almonds we picked up for dessert though...

We had a nice dinner the night before at a great place called Tight. I have to admit they were quite possibly the best mussels I've ever had in my life...

Oh and this was in Sweden, not Denmark, but since it's still Scandinavia I'll post my query here...

Why would anyone want to buy unpackaged candy laying out in the open like this? You have IKEA for God's sake!! Design some packaging!